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Dr. Stephen A. Di Biase served as the Chief Executive Officer of Laser Applications Technology (LAT) LLC and as currently President of Premier Insights, LLC. He is an entrepreneur, building businesses and capabilities from emerging technology.  In leading LAT, Dr. Di Biase developed the business model and go to market strategies for introducing a disruptive technology for labeling produce.  With Premier Insights, Dr. Di Biase teaches leaders how to become more innovative by making innovation a discipline they can refine.

During his 40 year career, Dr. Di Biase has become accomplished in using innovation to create value in a global commercial setting.  He has over 20 patents, mentored technical professionals, and taught innovation and human resource management in both corporate and university settings. He has guest lectured at several academic institutions and has authored books, patents and corporate publications. 

Dr. Di Biase graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and sits on the Science Advisory Board for The Pennsylvania State University. He is also a retired member of the Board of Trustees for the Mt. Union College, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Industrial Research Institute, a leading experienced based innovation management association.

Prior to joining JohnsonDiversey, Dr. Di Biase spent 26 years with the Lubrizol Corporation, where he held a variety of leadership positions, including general management roles and those with profit and loss responsibility for emerging businesses derived from technology platforms.  These global assignments often involved business development from strategy conception to execution managing teams of Sales, Marketing, and Business Development professionals.

Prior to accepting the assignment in business development Dr. Di Biase was the Vice President – Research, Development, and Engineering where he was responsible for the global technical and scientific leadership for a centralized R&D function comprising of 700 professionals, an operating budget of $120+ million, and a capital budget of $10+ million. 

In this role Dr. Di Biase fostered innovation and delivered results using processes such as stage gates, project and portfolio management, 6-Sigma, and advanced statistics while introducing a variety of IT based tools such as data mining and predictive modeling.

Dr. Di Biase has served as chairman of The Lubrizol Foundation Scholarship Committee, Chairman of the Northeastern Ohio Section of the American Chemical Society, Board member of the Cleveland Area Research Directors (CARD) and in The Boy Scouts of America where he served in a variety of posts.   Dr. Di Biase has been honored by The Pennsylvania State University College of Science with its 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award and serves as an adjunct professor at Benedictine University in Naperville IL.






Food for Thought

Applied Innovation Abstracts

Stephen Di Biase


"Applied Innovation: A Handbook", by Stephen A. Di Biase, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 – Doing the Right Things – “It’s All about Strategy”

Context for Innovation                                    Historical framework                         

Strategic Elements of Innovation                 What must an innovation be                   

Managing Oneself                                             Knowledge workers   

Michael Porter                                                   Approaches to Strategy                             

The New Venture                                              The Beginning                      

Abstract: “Doing the Right Things” considers knowing what the objectives are, and what they are not, and why, allowing the deployment of resources in an effective manner given the context in which innovation must occur. Combining this view with a framework for an employee managing themselves and Porter’s Five Choices model, helps the innovator focus on the handful of approaches people should take when interacting with their environments which is the underpinning of how people make choices leading to innovative outcomes. Also embedded in the treatise will be a description of what roles individuals play in making a New Venture successful.

 Chapter 2 – “Only People Innovate”                                                

Innovator Agency                                        Understanding the context    

Learning Methods                                        What to leverage

Tactical Elements of Innovation               Hiding in plain sight

·         Adjacent Possible                       First order combination                     

·         Liquid Networks                         The “Goldie Locks” approach            

·         The Slow Hunch                         It takes time                                        

·         Serendipity                                  Divine Intervention             

·         Errors                                           A special gift to ourselves                   

·         Exaptation and Diversity         Legos in action                                    

·         Platforms                                     Building on the past, creating the future    

Becoming Wise by learning the “Tricks of the Trade”

Abstract: “Only People Innovate”, termed the “Innovator’s Agency”, addresses the context under which innovation occurs followed by a detailed assessment of six methods proven to drive greater innovative outcomes. Critical to becoming innovative is how a person learns and processes data into actionable knowledge. Given most innovations are derived from existing items, which are modified for a new purpose; some “Trick of the Trade” will be considered providing ideas of where to begin.


 Chapter 3 – “Doing Things Properly”

Role of the 21st Century CEO                      The firm’s critical leader        

The Culture

·         Effective Leadership                     Key characteristics                                          

·         Leadership Essentials                    It’s all about you                                   

·         Inquiry Driven Leadership           "Tis better to question than to answer" 

·         Managing Conflict                           A fact of life                                      

Leadership in Action                             Odor control case study                    

Organizational Design                          Bringing it all together

Abstract: “Doing Things the Right Way” considers how cultural norms of behavior, especially during rapid change, impacts innovation. While many innovative techniques withstand the test of time new tools and techniques are constantly emerging the role of leadership, inquiry, managing conflict and change effectively remain standards of any innovative methodology. Data availability and new tools like Social Media are impacting the role of the individual and how people do work leading to organizational designs, becoming sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Easy inquiry and access to large amounts of data do not necessarily yield actionable knowledge and more innovation.                                                       

Chapter 4 – “Processes: The Means to the End”                                      

Innovation Roadmapping                              Where to go                                         

Portfolio Creation and Management           Why go there                                      

Open Innovation and Stage Gates                Looking outside                                           

Project Management                                       Getting there              

 Product Life Cycle Management                  Closing the loop                    

“Big Data”                                                          Getting to great decisions                           

 Social Media Techniques                               Driving high energy idea collisions

Abstract: “Processes: The Means to the End”, addresses processes necessary for sustainable innovation especially the unmanageable amounts of data being generate every day. Given that only people can innovate and that data, information, and knowledge are expanding dramatically, a strategy for deploying “knowledge workers” in organizational designs becomes critical. Supporting these designs are decision-making tools such as Road Maps, Portfolio Creation, Stage Gates, Project and Product Life Cycle Management, and managing “Big Data” all in the light of newly emerging Social Media techniques.


 Chapter 5 – “Sustaining the Business by Serving Customer's”                

The Business Model        Creating an enduring competitive advantage

  • Value Proposition
  • Go to Market Model
  • Exit Strategies

The Lead User                    They’ll know it when you show it to them    

Investment                          An abundance mentality for making “The Pie” bigger                                         

Protection                            You’re only as strong as your Intellectual  Property                                        

The Advisory Board           Select well, manage proactively

Corporate Governance      Strategically advising the firm                    

Abstract: “Sustaining the Business by Serving Customers”, deploys the concepts in the first four chapters, while framing the role of the 21st century CEO. The CEO’s leadership, defined by their field of vision, are essential to any enterprise thriving. From the CEO’s vision will emerge how the enterprise creates its business model, acquires financial support, and protects their innovations once deployed while closing with the elements of effective corporate governance creating a virtuous cycle of innovation. Core to chapter 5 will be a case study of “Customer Driven Innovation”.

 Chapter 6 – “Case Studies: How Some of the Best Did It”        

The Fruits of War                                         Innovations from crisis        

Chicago’s Innovations                                 The top 20 Innovations                       

Josia Wedgewood                                         Fine Chinaware                                               

Marshall Field                                               Retail                                                               

Michael Dell                                                  Personal Computers                                       

Estee Launder                                               Cosmetics                                                                                  

Laser Applications Technologies                Food Labeling                                      

Air Scrubber                                                    Odor Mitigation                                         

Emulsion Fuel                                                Low emission diesel Fuel                              

The Pipeline                                                    Innovations yet to come                               

Abstract: “How the Best Did It”, assesses case studies like Joshua Wedgewood’s building the first high-quality Fine Chinaware business in the 18th century to Michael Dell, of the Dell Computer, circa 1980.  Interestingly the context encountered by both innovators was the same. Examples, including Chicago’s Top 20 innovations, are reviewed comparing successes to failures where the context was correct, but something was amiss. Given many innovations result from a crisis we’ll explore how war drives innovation with unexpected consequences. A paradox of innovation from war is destroying wealth before creating it.